Beginning a Book Group (or Two)

For a while at work (well, since last summer, actually), I’ve been thinking that while we do a lot to get our “regular” audience into the store (upper-middle class, older, white people), we don’t do a whole lot for the younger crowd. (We actually do very little for the 18-30 somethings, but since I’m not really interested in them — yet — I’m not making that my problem.) We have a storytime for infant-preschool on Tuesday mornings, and the woman who does that is fabulous with them.

But for the elementary school/middle school bunch? Nothing.

So,  I’ve decided to start a book group — well, two, actually — for them. I was thinking on doing it one Saturday a month, trying it out for the summer months to see if it catches. And having one group for 3-5th graders and another for 6-8th. Parents would be allowed to come in the former, not in the latter. But aside from that, I’ve got no ideas.

So here is my plea, librarians: what do I do?? How do I go about picking a book? Leading a discussion?? And parents: what do you want to see in a bookgroup? Is  this even something I should be trying? This isn’t totally outside of my comfort zone, but I do feel a bit lost and can use some advice.

At the very least, help me with this: I have no idea what to call the book group. (The groups at the store all have names like “Classic Book Club” and “Longitude Book Club” and “Chick Lit Book Club” and all I have so far is “3-5th Grade Book Club” which works but isn’t terribly appealing.) Can you at least suggest a name?


5 thoughts on “Beginning a Book Group (or Two)

  1. Hi Melissa. I ran several parent/child bookclubs at a local bookstore for several years. If you'd like more info about what I did please email me and I'll be happy to tell you. I started writing here but it got kinda long winded.
    Clubs are fun but did take prep time. At least for me they did.
    Apples with Many Seeds


  2. I started a mother/daugher book club for my daughter when she and her friends were in 3rd grade — now they are in 6th — not sure I have much to offer other than: Rule #1 — You MUST read the book! It took awhile, but over the course of 4 years, I think we've finally trained them that you can't come/participate unless you've read the book. #2 — the kids (with some guidance depending on age) get to pick the books on an individual basis. The books the moms have picked are always discarded, complained about, etc…they have a vested interest when they get to pick the books. And group picks don't work out so well either. They learn to respect their friends choices, like it or not, and get to read new/different things.
    Good luck! Can't wait to read about your progress!


  3. I've led a mother/daughter book club at the library for 9-12 years old. We started by coming up with a lot of titles that we wanted to consider, and then worked our way through them trying to mix up genres, older or newer books, and length. We didn't have a cool name, so I can't help you there. Good luck!


  4. All I can say is I wish my library did something like this. My 11-year-old would LOVE a book club for her age group.

    I would let the kids generate a name. That way they have ownership in the club, you know?

    Good luck with it!


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